Wednesday, November 19, 2008

And the doctor replied:"Well, don't go to those places then."

Hilarious British stand-up comic, magician and well-documented alcoholic Tommy Cooper said he went to the doctor and complained that his arm hurt in several places. The doctor said: "Well, then don't go to those places."

The recent spate of Cap'n Jack Sparrow events - commonly referred to as piracy - around the Horn of Africa and specifically near Somalia reminded me of the Tommy Cooper quip. The owners of the vessels should simply not go to those places. The Cape route, long favoured by navigators would welcome the business and other than perhaps getting mugged on Adderley Street or hijacked in Bellville, the crews should come away relatively unscathed.

Given the frequency of the piratical pranks around the Horn one cannot but help speculate on the notion that these naughty nauticals might be the doing of none other Osama bin Sailing the famous Saudi yachtsman. It would come as no surprise to learn that Al Qaeda's Caisse is running low, now that West Texas Intermediate is hovering around $50 and we find the financial markets distressed by ever ill imaginable. Hard times for Wall Street is reflected by hard times in the Wadi. And arming the buggers ain't cheaper as Osama was overheard saying in Harrod's the other day.

None of the usual scare mongers in Washington or the Pentagon have hit on this theory (it maybe more than a theory), but given the state of politics and social upheaval that dog the region it would take very little for Osama to arm a few local fishermen and instruct them to cast their nets a little wider than usual so that they can haul in a handsome ransom and reload Al Qaeda's recession-hit treasury. I'm surprised Osama has not put in his plea to Congress for some bailout cash - after all, we are entering the giving season.

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